For the last few summers, online retailers have offered some big sales. They tout these big sales as “Black Friday in July” or the “Biggest Sale of the Summer.”
And this past week was no different. Amazon had its big Prime Day which offered big discounts to members of Amazon Prime. Walmart, never one to miss out on an opportunity to make a little money, offered sales of their own the same day. Other retailers joined the fray, hoping to move some merchandise during an otherwise slow season for retail.
I thought about writing about all those big sales. A few years ago, I most certainly would have. After all, I love a good sale. And if you shopped through my links to those retailers, I’d earn a small commission. I like making a little money, too.
It turns out a big sale is no big deal to me anymore.
Why a Big Sale Is No Big Deal
After more than 7 years of writing about saving money, I can tell you with a great deal of authority that there will always be another sale. If you miss one, don’t worry. There will be another chance to save at another sale later. A store somewhere is having a sale on something right now. And another store will have a sale on something else tomorrow.
Merchants try to trap you into buying by making you feel like you have to buy when they say you should buy. They want you to believe that once they’re out of stock, you’ll be out of luck forever.
It’s just not true. If a company sees an opportunity to sell a mass number of widgets in a “fire sale” it will do it. And if the sale goes well, they will do it again.
I’ve stopped nearly all blogging about deals in part because I don’t want to add to the noise of retailers, advertisers, bloggers, friends and family, and the media telling you that you have to “Buy now!” and “Don’t miss this deal!”
My mission is to help you save money, not encourage you to spend money on things you don’t really need. You aren’t saving money if you’re buying things on sale. You are simply spending less.
A big sale is no big deal if you find something you really want or need and you have the cash to pay for it. But if you can’t afford it now, how will you afford it with the interest you’ll pay? Are you sacrificing your future financial security for the media hype of today?
And these “big sales” just encourage consumerism in the worst ways. The products take an incredible amount of resources to make. The conditions of the workers who make the products are often poor. The products are shipped in an excessive amount of packaging (packaging that takes a great deal of resources to create). The carbon footprint of getting those items to your door is huge. The items purchased often result in credit card debt. They result in clutter. There is a real cost to what you save.
I find that I care less about these big sales now because I am choosing to do more shopping locally and buying more things secondhand. I care less about big sales because I am more focused on making do with what I have.
I want to shop intentionally. I want to shop with a plan. I want to shop with cash. And I want to help others do the same.
A big sale is really no big deal if you live this way.